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Barcelona still sweat on Messi injury

ESPN staff
April 3, 2013 « Carragher: Liverpool relying on others | Chartbeat test »
Alves: Barca can cope without Messi

Lionel Messi has been ruled out of Barcelona's La Liga game at home to Real Mallorca on Saturday, but may return for their Champions League second leg against Paris Saint-Germain next Wednesday.

Messi suffered a thigh muscle injury while scoring Barca's opening goal in Tuesday evening's 2-2 first leg draw at the Parc des Princes and was replaced by substitute Cesc Fabregas at half-time in that game.

The Argentine came in early to Barca's Ciutat Esportiva on Wednesday morning to meet Blaugrana physio Juanjo Brau and doctor Ricard Pruna. The club released a statement on Wednesday lunchtime which suggested initial reports he was set for three weeks out were overblown.

"Tests carried out on Leo Messi have confirmed that he has a muscular injury in his right thigh," the statement said. "He is ruled out of the La Liga game on Saturday. His availability for upcoming games will depend on his recovery."

Barca's return leg against PSG takes place on Wednesday April 10 at the Camp Nou. If Messi does miss that game, he could return for a potential semi-final first leg on April 23 or 24.

Messi said on a short post on his official Facebook page: "I will return soon, thankfully it was not so serious. We are so sorry for Masche [team-mate Javier Mascherano], we will give our support he returns as soon as possible."

Blaugrana defender Mascherano was also injured during the game at the Parc des Princes, with the club confirming on Tuesday evening that he had torn knee ligaments and faced approximately six weeks out.

Mascherano's absence is particularly problematic as club captain Carles Puyol and utility man Adriano Correia are also currently sidelined. Youngster Marc Bartra or former Arsenal player Alexandre Song are likely to feature in defence against Mallorca on Saturday evening and in the second leg against PSG.

Those Barca players who came through Tuesday's game unscathed had a light recovery session on Wednesday morning. The squad have Thursday off, and are due back at the Ciutat Esportiva on Friday.

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